Philadelphia was a city that surprised me in many ways. Passing through on my way from Washington D.C. to New York I thought it would be a nice, quiet stop over to break up the travel. Well, my dudettes, this city has a few things to offer. Namely, bookstores and history.
I spent a grand total of about two days frolicking through this city and found it tricky to find a bunch of things to do. Thankfully, if there is any front that ol’ Philly delivers on it’s the artsy front. There were some of my favourite bookstore to visit here so let me plan your trip – let’s look at where you need to go.
The Book Trader
7 N 2nd St, Philadelphia
Arguably one of the most beautifully cluttered spaces in the world, The Book Trader is a classic store to visit if you’re in this neck of the woods. It was one of the first I ventured into and I was blown away by the sheer volume of books in here.
I mean, there are bookshelves – but dang, if you’ve got floor space why not use it?! The Book Trader was established in 1975 in the historic part of the city. It also has a very lovely website. They’re open seven days a week, 10am – 10pm which is how I like it! Heck yeah I’mma buy me some books after my Sunday roast.
There are two storeys of books and more books with a wide range of everything. They don’t buy books but trade: you get 10-20% of the original price in store credit which is quite nifty. Highly recommend having a nosy in here.
Brave New Worlds
55 N 2nd St, Philadelphia
This one was particularly fun because it’s got funko pops and comics galore! It’s not far from The Book Trader too so it’s easy to tick off in one day. They seriously have an impressive amount of geeky stuff in here so I highly recommend popping in to check out the selection if you like those sorts of things!
As a small add on note to this geeky realm, Philadelphia is home to a tucked away cafe called Happily Ever After. It doesn’t look like much from the outside but OMG GEEK EVERYTHING. They have pop culture references coming out of their ears and they serve their mugs of hot chocolate and coffee in unique mugs.
Hoof & Antler
21 N 3rd St, Philadelphia
Okay this is a curveball, Hoof & Antler is actually an antiques store and we had to walk a little out of the way of the main attractions to get to it (although it’s not far from things, it was mostly us trundling through back alleys and looking at our phones in despair as google maps failed us). This happened after we chased a closed down bookstore for ages and ended up in the wrong place. Alas, we found some cool books.
There are some interesting antiques to look at here, but if you like your old books head to the back of the store and just around a corner there is one bookshelf – just one – packed with old books on an array of topics. You just never know what you might find!
Molly’s Books and Records
1010 S 9th St, Philadelphia
Now this one is in the Italian sector of town. On one of our days we walked over to here and I found this bookstore tucked away. It’s small and adorable and has a range of books and records (duh) – I loved it.
There was a serious range of books in this small space, too. We found cooking books like you’ve never heard of before and children’s books that were adorable and almost impossible not to buy. You’d be missing out if you didn’t duck into this one!
Where I Didn’t Get To
There were, as always, places I didn’t get to check out. Philadelphia has an abundance of bookstores to nosy into so let’s make a nice long list of them.
Jules Goldman Books || 29 N 2nd St, Philadelphia
I managed to find this one but it was unfortunately closed. I peeped through the window however and was sad that I couldn’t go in because it looked really good! It also doubles up as an antiques store so books aren’t the only thing you can find.
Joseph Fox Books || 1724 Sansom St, Philadelphia
We didn’t get to this one because it’s near City Hall which was just a titch too far to wander down to and explore with our limited time. It was established back in 1951 and is run by a veteran independent seller and has a range of fiction books on sale.
Book Corner || 311 N 20th St, Philadelphia
Again, a little out of the way for us so we didn’t make it to this one. But if you’ve got time, this store looks really cute and is full of a range of secondhand books. Also, if their Instagram is anything to go by I do believe there are two resident cats. Just sayin’.
Barnes & Noble || 1805 Walnut Street Philadelphia
Well, if you go to America you go to Barnes & Noble right? Obviously, for Americans from other states this is less exciting. For me, as an Australian, I practically run in screaming with joy when I see a B&N. So yes, there’s the address and off you go, go buy your library from this goldmine of books.
Mostly Books || 529 Bainbridge St, Philadelphia
I have to say I was sad I didn’t get to check this one out. It was next on our list but yup, we ran out of time. It’s a multi-roomed bookstore filled with books, VHS tapes, CDs and DVDs.
There we have it!
Have you been to Philly? Do you live there?! What’s your favourite bookstore – let me know in the comments below!
Want to read about more bookstores around the world to visit? Click the hashtag link at the bottom of this page “bookstores around the world” and explore bookstores in London, Washington D.C. and more!